Fellow “Divergent” fans: I imagine this coming weekend is going to be much like the day after one’s birthday for us. We’ll feel excited, elated — but also bummed that we need to wait another year until similar glory is bestowed upon our souls.
Luckily for us, however, there are several more birthday-joy-like moments to be had, and we don’t really need to go much further than our Kindles. Behold, 16 books that you can read right now to stave off the withdrawal.
Oh, and I organized them all by faction because, you know, addiction is a process.
No YA book is, on its whole, as austere and selfless is Tris’ home faction, but many do tell amazing tales in which characters either overcome stifling suppression of character or learn to see beyond themselves entirely. Check out three standouts below
1. “Thirteen Reasons Why,” by Jay Asher: Clay Jensen is forced to see his friends and classmates through the eyes of Hannah Baker, a former crush who committed suicide, when he receives a set of audio tapes explaining why she did it.
2. “Before I Fall,” by Lauren Oliver: After popular girl Samantha “Sam” Kingston is killed in a car accident, she is forced to relive the day of her death over and over again until she comes to a startling realization — one that makes her see her coveted social standing in a new light.
3. “Speak,” by Laurie Halse Anderson: Melinda Sordino is paralyzed by a traumatic rape and nearly stops speaking all together. Silenced by the tragedy that befell her, she has to learn to find her voice again.
Knowledge can be powerful — and dangerous when not tempered with compassion — in the world of YA. Below are three books that center on learning and knowing:
4. “Flowers For Algernon,” by Daniel Keyes: Mentally disabled man Charlie Gordon becomes a genius after undergoing an experiment administered to both him and a mouse named Algernon. At first overjoyed that he can understands things previously shrouded, Gordon quickly realizes how hard it is to learn too much too quickly — and to have it all melt away.
5. “Feed,” by M.T. Anderson: In the future, we’ll all be outfitted with a “feed” implanted directly into our brains — one that entertains and advertises 24/7. After his is disabled by activists, however — and he meets Violet Durn — former feed fan Titus starts to question the prudence of being plugged in.
6. “A Separate Peace,” by John Knowles: Gene Forrester and Phineas are best friends and intense academic rivals — well, at least in Gene’s eyes. During a stint at their rigorous prep school, Gene’s jealousy turns disastrous, and Finny takes the fall. Literally.
All YA books have more than a hint of bravery. Here are three particularly gallant efforts:
7. “Galax-Arena,” by Gillian Rubinstein: Joella, Peter and Liane are kidnapped by aliens, fated to perform in the death-defying (or not so much defying) Galax-Arena. Too bad Joella has no acrobatic skills whatsoever — still, she does have some pretty otherworldly powers of observation, which may just help them escape.
8. “All Our Pretty Songs,” by Sarah McCarry: A punk-rock re-telling of “Orpheus And Eurydice,” Aurora and the narrator (who is unnamed) are best friends — sisters, almost — until a mysterious musician named Jack comes on the scene. Still, the narrator would go to hell and back for her friend, which she does, eventually, by way of L.A.
9. “Sabriel,” by Garth Nix: Speaking of hell — Sabriel is tasked with a similar quest when her father, a necromancer who specializes in putting the deceased to rest, sends for her aid from a magical kingdom overrun with the living dead.
10. “Alanna: The First Adventure,” by Tamora Piece: Alanna of Trebond and her twin brother Thom decide to switch places when it’s time to set off for school: Thom heads off to learn magic, while Alanna dresses as a boy so that she can become a knight. Seeing as how this is the “first adventure,” you can probably guess that Alanna kicks ass at the whole knight thing.
Amity dig singing and art and nature and all those good things — and so do the characters in these books:
11. “The Grounding Of Group 6,” Julian F. Thompson: Most of this book, which is about a boarding school where children are sent by their parents to be murdered, is pretty dark. (Duh.) However, the idyllic life that Group 6 manages to make for themselves up in the forest after escaping the clutches of death is pretty damn amiable.
12. “The Last Unicorn,” by Peter S. Beagle: When a unicorn discovers that she is perhaps the last of her kind, she sets out on a mission to find out if magic is left in the world — and her kin.
13. “A Ring of Endless Light,” Madeleine L’Engle: During a summer spent mourning her grandfather’s impending death, Vicky Austin learns to fall in love — and to talk to dolphins.
Candor are all about the brash honesty, and so are these books:
14. “It’s Kind of a Funny Story,” Ned Vizzini: Overwhelmed by the pressures of his elite school — and his mounting depression — Craig checks himself into a nearby psychiatric hospital after calling a suicide hotline. Thrown into a situation where he is far from the most damaged on the floor, Craig makes friends while battling for equilibrium.
15. “Unspoken,” by Sarah Rees Brennan: Don’t let the title fool you — the main character, Kami Glass, does plenty of talking. She chats with her best friend, her school via the newspaper that she runs — oh, and with her imaginary friend who whispers his worries directly into her head.
16. “Eleanor And Park,” by Rainbow Rowell: Park Sheridan and Eleanor Douglas are a couple of outsiders who find love on the school bus over comic books and music — despite their tumultuous home lives.